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Convicted for Criticizing Government Abuses

(Beirut) – A leading Saudi human rights figure has died after suffering a stroke on April 9, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. Abdullah al-Hamid, 69, spent the final seven years of his life in prison following his conviction in March…
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Positive Reforms for Women Tainted by Ongoing Arrests of Activists, Dissidents

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities carried out a sweeping campaign of repression against independent dissidents and activists, including two waves of mass arrests, in 2019, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.    The arrests and…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 12, 2018.
News

Arrests, Torture, Murder Accompany Reforms

(Washington, DC) – Important social reforms enacted under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have been accompanied by deepening repression and abusive practices meant to silence dissidents and critics, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
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Reform Intelligence Services; Free Dissidents; End Abuses

(Beirut) – Following the Saudi government’s belated admission of responsibility for the October 2, 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, it should move promptly to provide justice for its role in the crime and release jailed government…
Candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul. © 2018 Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo
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The admission of guilt by the Saudi authorities needs to be accompanied by the release of political prisoners

A year ago today, I spoke on the phone to Hatice Cengiz, who introduced herself, with a trembling voice, as the fiancé of my friend Jamal Khashoggi. She was standing outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, extremely concerned that he…
An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 19, 2018.
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17 Organizations Denounce Threats to Prosecute Journalists Investigating French Arms Sales

(Paris) – Seventeen humanitarian and human rights organizations denounced threats to press freedom after three French journalists were summoned by French intelligence services for investigating the presence of French weapons in the conflict in Yemen,…
People are seen near a bus destroyed by an airstrike that killed dozens of children, in a photograph taken on August 12, 2018 in Saada, Yemen.
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French Arms Sales to Coalition Raise Complicity Concerns

(Paris) – President Emmanuel Macron of France should raise serious concerns with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince regarding laws-of-war violations in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan of the United Arab…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Faj Attan, a densely populated neighborhood in Sanaa, on August 25, 2017. Two of the buildings were completely destroyed and the third suffered extensive damage. Saudi-led coalition aircraft
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World Leaders, Journalists Should Demand Accounting for Rights Abuses

  (Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s admission that government representatives killed Jamal Khashoggi at its Istanbul consulate on October 2, 2018 has sparked intensified and overdue scrutiny of the country’s human…
 Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Leading Bahraini Rights Activist Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have sustained their campaigns to silence peaceful critics during the first half of 2017, Human Rights Watch said today, updating an interactive website, created in November 2016, featuring targeted human rights activists. On…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
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UN Envoy Criticizes Abuses Following Visit

(Beirut) – A United Nations official who recently visited Saudi Arabia has criticized the country’s use of its terrorism tribunal and counterterrorism law to unjustly prosecute human rights defenders, writers, and peaceful critics, Human Rights Watch said…
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 21, 2016.
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Ongoing Repression of Peaceful Reformers

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities have arrested two independent human rights advocates, most likely because of their peaceful activities, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests of Essam Koshak, 45, and Ahmed al-Musheikhis, 46, are the latest in Saudi…
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Region-Wide Crackdown on Social Media Activism

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have attempted to silence peaceful critics in response to a wave of online activism in recent years, Human Rights Watch said in an interactive website that began operating today. The governments have responded to online…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
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Software from Company That Sells Only to Governments

(Washington, DC) – Saudi Arabia’s government should clarify whether it is infecting and monitoring mobile phones with surveillance malware, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi officials should also say whether and how they intend to protect the rights of…
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Challenging the Red Lines Stories of Rights Activists in Saudi Arabia Introduction Legal Background Criminal Justice Violations during Arrests and Pretrial Phase Cyber-…
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The Stoic philosopher Epictetus warned of the dangers of casually bad-mouthing the ruler in ancient Rome: “A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received…
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Ra’if Badawi Prosecuted for Running ‘Free Saudi Liberals’ Website

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should drop charges and release the editor of the Free Saudi Liberals website for violating his right to freedom of expression on matters of religion and religious figures. Prosecutors have charged Ra’if Badawi under the 2007…
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Rights Activists, Writers Targeted for Peaceful Expression, Assembly

(Sanaa) – Saudi Arabia should end the arbitrary detention and travel bans inflicted on those who peacefully exercise their freedom of speech or assembly, Human Rights Watch said today. Several intellectuals remain in detention one year or longer for…
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Criminal Defamation Charges for Web Article Alleging Extortion

(Beirut) – The head of the Saudi judiciary, Salih bin Humaid, should stop all criminal proceedings against Fahd al-Juhani, a Saudi journalist charged with defaming a local official, Human Rights Watch said today. Al-Juhani had written about what he…
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King Launches New Speech Restrictions as Crackdown on Critics Escalates

(Munich) - The Saudi interior minister should immediately release Fadhil Makki al-Manasif, a human rights activist arrested on May 1, 2011, in ‘Awwamiyya in the Eastern Province for taking part in peaceful demonstrations, Human Rights Watch said today.…